Washington State Week: Running Down The ReturneesPosted by Connor Pelton on August 2nd, 2012
Washington State returns four players who were part of the rotation last year, highlighted by Brock Motum – a preseason candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year – but also extending down to a guard that is back for his senior season after leading the team in minutes per game, a sophomore shooting guard primed to build off a solid freshman campaign, and yet another guard who will probably enjoy a similar role to what he saw last year. We’ll go through all of those guys below, in order of last year’s scoring totals.
Brock Motum, Senior, Forward (18.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.4 BPG) – After a quiet first two seasons at Washington State, Motum exploded onto the scene in 2012-13. The junior forward took on the minutes left by departing senior DeAngelo Casto, and he showed the Cougar coaching staff immediately what he could do with them. From the very beginning of the year, he introduced a new style of game to the team’s offense. Motum led the team in scoring in the Cougars’ first two games, dropping 17 in a nationally televised contest at Gonzaga, and 23 in their second game against Sacramento State. He took on a “point-center” type role, one where the big man could handle the ball up top and act as a triple threat against opponents. His ability to drive and hit a pull-up jumper made him one of the toughest forwards to defend in the Pac-12, evident by his 18.0 PPG, the conference’s best. Not only a threat to score, but also a force on the glass, Motum pulled down a very respectable 6.4 RPG. Those two feats combined earned him the title of “Most Improved Player” in the Pac-12. Some of Motum’s critics will say he took a lot of defenses by surprise last season, but the truth is, the Cougars were just a tough team to defend. With Faisal Aden and Reggie Moore able to score the ball consistently, Motum was bound to get a few extra looks a game. And he took advantage, making him one of the deadliest players in the league.
Reggie Moore, Senior, Guard (10.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.2 APG) – Moore’s career in Pullman has been an interesting one. As a freshman focused on scoring, Moore averaged 12.7 PPG and played 32.5 MPG – a lot of minutes for a true freshman on a Ken Bone team. He endured a bit of a sophomore slump in 2010-11, averaging fewer points and assists despite playing slightly more minutes. Last year, his scoring average increased, but he became more of a true point guard for the first time since high school. Now, heading into his final year on the Palouse, Moore is expected to be one of the most threatening “score-first” type point guards in the Pac-12. He should get an increased amount of looks when he penetrates because opponents will be preoccupied with Motum and incoming freshman Demarquise Johnson.
DaVonte Lacy, Sophomore, Guard (8.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.9 APG) – By all accounts, Lacy had a solid freshman season. He could shoot the ball when needed and provided a nice balance to go with fellow guards Aden and Moore. If there was a stretch in which he was at his best, it was in the Cougars’ first 14 games. Lacy averaged 10.6 PPG in those first 14, including a career high 19-point performance against Oregon on December 29. It could also be argued that Lacy was the star and all-around most complete player in Washington State’s exhibition against Lewis-Clark State and first three regular season games against Gonzaga, Sacramento State, and Portland. The only negative in his first year would be consistency. In games when his shot wouldn’t fall early, he would lose confidence, pass on open looks, and subsequently lose playing time. If Lacy improves his jumper over the summer where he is a threat night in and night out, the Cougar offense will be very dangerous.
Mike Ladd, Senior, Guard (5.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG) – The overall numbers for Ladd don’t show a whole lot, especially since he was forced to sit out a season and got to learn the system. Some of his struggles on offense could be blamed on the torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury that caused him to miss 11 games last year. Regardless, in his first two seasons at Fresno State, Ladd was an excellent shooter who made an impact every time he stepped on the floor. You couldn’t say that about him last year. What he did bring to the table was solid, in-your-face defense. Even if it doesn’t show up in the steals category, Ladd was one of the top defenders on the team. They’ll need that part of his game even more next season with Aden and Marcus Capers departing.